Another private tour in Devon saw us pick up Simon from Bere Ferrers at 8am and head off to Bowling Green Marsh. For those that have never heard of Bere Ferrers, don’t worry. It’s the back of beyond down tiny lanes and you will probably never visit there! We arrived at Bowling Green Marsh RSPB just in time for high tide, which pushes the waders off the main estuary and onto the main marsh. The hide has re-opened since our last visit and the flocks of waders are pretty much right in front giving superb views.
The main species were Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Dunlin and Curlew, totalling over 2000 birds and some of the Black-tailed’s still in superb summer-plumage. In amongst these were Whimbrel, Snipe, Common Sandpiper, Knot and best find of the day, a moulting adult Curlew Sandpiper. Wildfowl included Shoveler, Mallard, Teal, Mute Swan and Canada Goose. Having spent a good hour in the hide we moved down to the main platform overlooking the estuary. The tide was still well in so we walked the short distance to the Goat Walk overlooking the river, mainly to check the two floating rafts. These held Sandwich Tern and a few gulls but little else. As the tide receded we went back to the main platform where we added Grey Plover, Oystercatcher and Greenshank, bringing the wader total to a respectable 13 species!
The afternoon was spent hopelessly looking for woodland species at Yarner on the east side of Dartmoor National Park. Traditionally one of our most successful sites on previous tours, today it was deserted of avifauna! We managed to see Tree-creeper and a few of the tit family but failed with everything else. I couldn’t believe how quiet the woodland and heath both were. No singing Yellowhammers, Tree Pipits or Warblers and deadly quiet in the wood itself. Worth noting not to visit here in an afternoon in mid August!
Thankfully, Bowling Green Marsh once again turned up the goods, so the day wasn’t lost. Including some of the woodland birds only heard and not seen we still ended the day with over 55 species. Looking forward now to our Winter Devon trip in November when we should see Yarner in all its glory! We still have spaces available! Link HERE